alt=flowers sprouting allergy medication sit in a box looking out on a wintery scene outside.

When Is the Best Time to Start Spring Allergy Medicines?

If you are someone who has seasonal allergies, I feel your misery. I usually stock up on allergy pills and nose sprays at the warehouse store when they are on sale. And don't forget the tissues with lotion to help prevent a red, irritated nose!

Gearing up for spring allergy season

Since the allergy medicines usually go on sale at the warehouse store in spring, we jokingly put them in our adult kid's Easter baskets. They are too old for an Easter egg hunt but not too old for a chocolate bunny and a package of sugary peeps. And I might as well put something in there that is useful, like allergy meds – am I right?!

My family of 5 tends to suffer from allergies year-round, so I stock up on allergy meds so we have an ample supply to last through each allergy season.

Allergies to tree pollen in the spring

Spring is especially bad for our allergy symptoms, thanks to tree pollen. Summertime doesn't impact us as badly with grass pollen, likely because my kids don't play soccer or baseball anymore. But we get hit extra hard with ragweed allergies when fall comes around.

When should you start allergy medicines?

For those of you who only have allergies in the springtime, should you wait until symptoms begin occurring to start your daily allergy medicines? Do you wait until you constantly sneeze, then start on allergy meds?

My allergist has always advised my family and me to take allergy medications before symptoms begin. He said that often, people make the mistake of waiting until they are sneezing and miserable and then take their allergy medicines. But you have to get ahead of the pollen.

Get ahead of the pollen

The allergist has told us that we need to take allergy meds about a month before the spring allergy season begins. Our spring starts at a different time every year, depending on winter. We tend to stay on our allergy meds year-round when we have mild winters (as we have for the last 20 years).

Take medicine before symptom onset

We can take a break from allergy meds if we have a severe winter. I live near several ski resorts, and we have had an unusually snowy and cold winter this year, which means the trees are dormant. No tree pollen is out yet, phew! So I could back off taking allergy meds this winter, but I will start again around the end of February.

When does allergy season begin?

Many allergists will use special equipment to track and share the pollen count on their website or local news stations. Many free apps track pollen counts too.

I rely on the local news. I like keeping up on current events, and then I'll watch the weather forecast, which includes information about pollen and the air quality index.

Location matters

Pollen season can start earlier in some areas of the country. It tends to be warmer in the south, and they may have an earlier spring than the northern states with cooler climates.

Stay ahead of your allergy symptoms

My allergist told me to "stay ahead" of allergies just like when I have surgery, and the doctor tells me to "stay ahead" of the pain. It's the same concept. He said allergies are easier to manage if they aren't entirely out of control.

I will start back on my allergy medicines in a few weeks, just to be on the safe side. Have you ever sneezed so many times that you got a bloody nose? And then sneezed? It's like trying to clean up a crime scene...

Does anyone else know to get ahead of their seasonal allergies?

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